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RE: A Lydiard Thread

I know what exactly (well, sorta) "anaerobic threshold" means but I personally would prefer to consider what we really try to develop/improve during the marathon conditioning of the Lydiard method is "aerobic threshold". Lorraine claims that she "invented" this term but oh, well...anyways. We are trying to bring this VO2Max or maximum steady state or whatever else you want to call it. Basically, by the end of the conditioning phase, you want to be running at very high end of aerobic state; meaning you should be running faster per mile than what you started to run this phase and still be aerobic (no huffing and puffing). You should get there naturally, not by pushing. I think Mike S expressed this beautifully in his blog. When you move on to the next phase which is hill training, you should be "adding" power and flexibility in your strides onto what you've just built up. I can't remember if I posted this somewhere or if I just simply suggested this to someone but if you try to follow the "new" Lydiard hill training (bounding and springing) and perhaps using shorter hill; you'd better make sure you are keeping up a good aerobic maintenance by going for a long run a couple of times a week; instead of what Lydiard himself might have suggested which is something like 3 times a week of hill training and 3 times a week of sprint training. Again, Lydiard's original runners were running somewhere around 12~14 miles for each hill training session including windsprints and fast downhill running. They didn't need to add anything else any more. That is more than plenty and, if you are missing any of these elements, you need to somehow include it; be it tempo run or strides or distance work or whatever. It all depends on what kind of hill training you perform during this phase.

Now there's another way to look at it. Suppose you just did all the distance work fairly easy (because you're still a beginner or a young developing athlete or whatever the reason) and using hill training strictly as a transition. Now, because of all the mileage you've done, you should be fairly fit--perhaps not the ultimate form as Lydiard would like to see, but fair state. You did not do much tempo runs, no steady state intervals, no fast stuff whatsoever. And you need to prepare yourself to do faster stuff that comes after the hill phase. Should you include tempo runs or long intervals? You can if you want. But here I totally agree with Glenn. Hill training is speed training in disguise. Even if you're not necessarily running fast, you are still working on pretty much everything you need to be able to run fast. So why try to prove yourself that you actually can run fast at this still very early stage? That time will come so guard your performance till later. You are still building all the blocks at this point and strengthening all those blocks. Don't try to mix everything at one time. You cannot build a brick wall at once. You'll have to pile them all up from the bottom layer to the top; one by one. Think of all the elements as each bricks. Each day's training is to do what you can do on that day and that should lead you to do something extra in the following days/weeks/months. You don't need to do what you want to be doing at your peak today. That day will come later.

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